Mother of hunger striking teacher detained by police in Ankara

Nine protesters, including the mother of Semih Özakça, were detained in Ankara by police on Thursday during a solidarity protest with dismissed teacher Özakça and academic Nuriye Gülmen, who have been on hunger strike for 72 days.

Semih Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen  have launched a hunger strike on March 10 after a months-long sit-in protest on Ankara’s Yüksel Avenue to demand that they be given back their jobs.

Police assaulted the group which had gathered to protest the pair’s expulsions after demanding that they extinguish a fire that they lit to keep warm. Police attacked the group with tear gas, detaining nine people including Semih Özakça’s mother, Sultan Özakça. Esra Özakça, Semih Özakça’s wife, was also detained by police on Wednesday in Ankara.

Nuriye Gülmen, a university academic, and Semih Özakça, a primary school teacher, who were removed from their posts by government decrees in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, have been on a hunger strike for more than two months to be able to return to their jobs.

After the educators’ health deteriorated following two months of hunger strike, they were taken to their homes, where their mothers are helping ease their strike. Many of their colleagues in Turkey and abroad calling on Turkish authorities to allow the educators to return to work.

Thousands of academics and teachers have been removed from their jobs since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt as part of a post-coup purge launched by the government under the pretext of anti-coup fight.

May 19, 2017


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